Your Personal Fitness Program
This section will provide a general overview and help you create your own fitness programme as well as give you some tips and well researched advice.
A fundamental part of any fitness programme is always a warm up, cool down and stretch.
When you warm up you are literally warming up the temperature of your body and muscles. The physical and mental preparation is crucial for flexibility and to prevent injuries. It also:
- Slowly increases your heart and respiratory rate to minimise stress before your exercise
- Dilates blood vessels keeping your muscles well supplied with oxygen
- Loosens up your muscles
- Helps to extend your workout
Your warm up should be slow and gradual and last between 5 and 10 minutes.
It is equally important to cool down after your work out. Cooling down keeps a steady blood flow throughout your body. If you stop suddenly you may feel light-headed due to the rapid drop of your heart and blood pressure.
Your cool down should be a gradual reduction of pace and last between 5 and 10 minutes.
Stretching is an essential part of your programme and will prevent injury. After your workout when your muscles are nice and warm is the perfect time for a deep stretch helping you feel less stiff and sore.
Stretching increases flexibility and joint range of motion and relaxes your muscles. Stretch your lower back, neck, calves, quadriceps, hamstring and groin area.
When you stretch remember to:
- Stop if it hurts
- Breath to help oxygen circulation
- Hold stretch for between 10 to 30 seconds
- Stretch the muscle gradually and don’t force or bounce it
- Equally stretch both sides of your body
Your stretching routine should last about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Always consult with a certified fitness professional to learn safe techniques before you begin.
- Perform slow, controlled and a consistent rate of speed throughout the movement.
- Perform exercise through a full range of movement.
- Good posture, engage your abs in every movement to keep your balance and protect your spine.
- Shock your body, vary your programme using machines, free weights, pilates and aerobic and anaerobic exercise for your cardiovascular workout.
- Alternate the frequency of your programme allowing the following day off to rest your muscles.
- Do not work the same muscle group 2 days in a row.
- Don’t over-do it! 3 or 4 times a week for 20 or 30 minutes will yield results.
- Breath, breath, breath. This will seriously help your routine.
I will use a basic interval training programme using a scale of 1 to 10 of what you perceive your rate of exertion to be. Let’s call this RPE (rate of perceived exertion). For example a 3 would suggest a fairly easy level of exertion whereas a 7 would be more demanding. The programme also assumes a 5 to 10 minute warm up, cool down and stretch.
You can adjust the programme to suit your own training needs, ability and progression by varying the intensity, recovery and repetition.
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For beginners choose one exercise for each major muscle group and start with the larger muscle groups (glutes, thigh, chest, back) before proceeding to the smaller muscle groups (shoulder, arms, abs, calves).
Rest in between reps is very important for muscle recovery. Rest longer for high intensity weight training. A general guide:
2 – 5 minutes for very heavy weight
30 seconds – 1 minute for lighter weighs with more repetition.
You should train each muscle group 2 or 3 times per week but never consecutively but allowing 24 – 48 hours for muscle repair and growth.
If you are a beginner focus on your form rather than the weight until you have perfected the correct movement. Start light then progress to heavier weights depending on your fitness objective.
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